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Jaslene Gonzalez gets a lesson in confidence from Jennifer Lopez

Jaslene Gonzalez

Jaslene Gonzalez

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Updated: February 25, 2013 10:58AM

About a week ago, after I officially became a Ford Model, I decided to come down to Miami to test the waters. I wanted to get away, enjoy the beautiful weather and the sand beneath my toes, and of course, go to some castings. And who wouldn’t want to be here when it’s freezing everywhere else, right?

When I arrived, I immediately checked into a model’s apartment in South Beach. I have the cutest roommate — she’s actually the sister of a former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant, and she looks just like her. But that’s typical: In Miami, there are beautiful women everywhere.

During my first casting call here several years ago, I remember being mesmerized by the girls I was competing with — I felt like I was this weird, high-fashion couture creature in comparison to their commercial-ready faces, skin, boobs and butts. To be completely honest, I remember wilting like a wallflower. To this day, my self-esteem is constantly being tested in this industry — it’s hard to forget that beautiful new faces are always in the running towards becoming America’s next top models.

Sometimes, after a particularly tough casting call, I’ll splurge at a fancy place. One of my favorite spots has to be CATCH Miami at the James Royal Palm Hotel — I’ve never had the chance to dine in the New York City restaurant, but the Miami location actually feels a bit like New York.

A few days ago, I settled into a booth, looked to my left, and to my surprise, spotted J. Lo sitting two feet from me! I smiled and wanted to say hello, but didn’t want to be rude and interrupt her meal. Later that night, though, I decided to take a breather outside, and J. Lo walked out behind me after a few minutes.

We stared at each other for several seconds. After we broke eye contact, a nearby paparazzo went into attack mode, snapping a steady stream of photos. In response, J. Lo simply smiled and asked, “Did you get my shoe?” It was such a J. Lo thing to say — it almost felt like I was watching her on TV.

In that moment, I recognized her innate confidence. It’s easy to see why she’s so self-assured — she’s gorgeous. But it’s something more than that. She has this fierce, non-verbal, lion-like vibe. Watching the woman I’ve always admired in action, I decided to channel J. Lo’s fierceness rather than fearing my competition. With that in mind, here’s to my Miami adventures!

Jaslene Gonzalez donated her fee for writing this column to Women in Need Growing Stronger,

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